After years of straining forward to speak into my microphone, I finally purchased my first desk-mounted adjustable microphone boom arm. Not only was it gotten at a good price, it’s of a sturdy build with a wider-than-usual base with screw clamp.
When I started my mostly home-based biz, I was broke, so managed to get by with cheaper, lower-quality, less-than-ideal technology such as a USB mic headset.
It was alright, but the microphone was “omni” meaning it picked up background noise. Not good, considering how noisy the neighbours were.
Later, lots of time was spent doing deep research on microphones and, in particular, the ATR-2100 which I now own and still love, mostly because it’s a noise-cancelling mic with inputs for either USB or XLR.
It offers fantastic quality while definitely existing in the budget pricing range for broadcast-quality microphones, but it does sound best and does depend on you getting close enough to it to produce a deep, crisp, smooth bass-response.
It came with a little plastic tripod big enough to stand the mic on the desk, and together with the shock mount I acquired, any knocks, bumps or the sound of keyboard typing was significantly lessened.
However, one problem persisted for years. For years I have battled the ongoing issue of a bad physical posture due to hours spent on video/audio calls on Skype.
Because I would lean forward to get near enough to the mic (while mousing and typing, this is awkward) my neck and back suffered. I knew a proper boom arm was needed, one with springs to bring the mic toward me rather than the other way round.
Initially I visited the local music shop and was sold a mic arm for singers and guitarists.
In an effort to be supportive of local businesses I went along with the idea that it was suitable, but upon setting it up, realised it really couldn’t properly handle the weight of the mic. Everything tipped over.
Because of how far the horizontal pole needed to extend, repositioning it was awkward. The three fold out feet got in the way too.
Kicking myself, I went to Amazon and, after two weeks or so researching, decided to buy the TONOR suspension boom scissor mic stand for £39.99 (affiliate link).
Now that I have bought the thing, the mic can indeed be positioned very close to my mouth with ease and without awkwardness.
I can recline in my office chair during a conversation without once having to crane, strain or feel uncomfortable. It has lots of positive reviews on Amazon and I’m glad I chose it.
There were cheaper alternatives but I know that a poor quality or inappropriate product only means you pay again and again in future, either by having to replace the product with something better or just because you have to tolerate caveats.
The Amazon reviews of the Tonor were saying it could hold the weight of the Blue Yeti! If you don’t know, the Yeti is a microphone that looks a bit like R2-D2 and about as heavy!
As a bonus, the TONOR comes with a pop filter and foam ball, which are welcome additions.
I wish I’d bought a boom arm years ago as the mere fact that I’m able to physically and easily talk into the mic within the “sweet spot” of the cardioid pickup pattern (an area about the size of a watermelon) means the quality of the audio sounds more professional.
Sometimes, when taking an audio only call (I use a phone number routed through Skype), I prefer standing up to talk. When I do this, there’s freer breathing, more energy and a sense that I can generally communicate better.
When you know how to properly use a mic as part of remote working culture, your voice sounds deeper, your words are audible and everyone that’s listening tends to get what was said the first time.
Also, as someone who records lots of unlisted YouTube videos for marketing, troubleshooting or as general sales follow-ups, I now have an almost perfect audio recording system.